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Zelensky, Putin reject African leaders' calls for end to the war

Zelensky, Putin reject African leaders' calls for end to the war

Posted June. 19, 2023 07:58,   

Updated June. 19, 2023 07:58


The leaders of seven African nations that are considered neutral met with the leaders of Ukraine and Russia one after another to call for a ceasefire, which was effectively rejected by both countries. The African nations are facing severe food shortages as Russia's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted grain supplies.

According to Reuters Saturday, the leaders of the seven countries - South Africa, Senegal, Zambia, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, and Comoros - met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv on Friday to call for an end to the war. President Zelensky stood by his previous position, saying, "Negotiations are possible only after Russia withdraws from the occupied territories. In the current situation, negotiations can only freeze the war.”

The leaders of the seven countries also met with President Vladimir Putin in St. Petersburg, Russia on Saturday. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa urged, "The war must end," emphasizing the need for the opening of grain shipping routes through the Black Sea, the exchange of prisoners between the two countries, and the return of children who fled their homes.

"We are ready for a constructive dialogue with anyone who recognizes the legitimate interests of the parties and seeks to establish peace based on the principle of fairness," Putin said. "Russia has never refused to engage in dialogue on the situation in Ukraine. It is Ukraine that is refusing to engage in dialog," he said, blaming Ukraine.

During the meeting, Putin also unveiled to the African leaders a document called the ‘draft agreement,’ which was discussed in Istanbul in March last year, according to Russia's state-run TASS news agency. Putin claimed that the document specified the size of the troop presence, equipment, and a number of personnel and contained the signatures of the Ukrainian negotiators who agreed to it but that Ukraine had abandoned it.

Commenting on the spike in global grain prices due to restrictions on Black Sea grain exports, Putin said, "The crisis in the world food market is not a result of the situation in Ukraine, but it is because the West has swept all food off the world market to solve problems related to COVID-19."

Eun-A Cho achim@donga.com